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Interview Violeta Villacorta- Costume Designer

Costume Designer of the indie feature film Gabriela and clothing designer.

I’m the costume designer for Gabriela. I’ve done some costumes for actors, musicians and performers. This is my first film, so it’s exciting. I learned lots and just working with everybody was really a lot of fun as well. I actually made about three of them [costumes] that were worn. I made the wedding grown and then there was a piece that was used in the club scene. It was a hand embroidered burlap mini-dress in brown with raffia straw. It was pretty striking. And then there was one other piece with a motif from a friend of mine, Kenny Sarf, he’s a painter, and it was another scene in the restaurant. It was a fun mini-dress that I did for that, so they used it.

In terms of what I design for my clothing line, it’s very different. My line is very elaborate; lots of hand embroidery, I mix a lot of different fabrics, silk with straw and then I’ll use hemp with silk thread. So, I’ll mix stuff like that and for the film it was mainly causal wear, stuff you’d wear to work and not elaborate, but the sense of style was there. My most simple pieces are a lot like what you’d see in the film.

The wedding dress was a very simple dress. It was a T-dress, like a little T-shirt, with a beautiful fabric. So the fabric made it work and the style was just subtle.

I’m originally from Peru, from Lima, but I grew up in New York and I lived there for thirteen years and then I moved to Miami and then here.

I think [Gabriela makes progress with Latino roles] because I’m really tired of seeing Latinos stealing or robbing or being gang members, and here they are professionals doing a job that was important. They were working at a psychiatric ward and to me that was much more interesting then as seeing them as little hoodlums because we’re not all hoodlums. We have everything in every race. There’s good and bad, but unfortunately most of the time they’re portrayed badly, I think. So for me it was good to see a script where people were actually professionals and had a normal life. They weren’t negative role models at all, they were very positive.

[Working on the film] it was very beautiful to see people you don’t know from before, you never met, bond. There are a lot of people I want to keep in contact with. I met Vincent I think last year, in the middle of the year, something like that. And I sent him a resume and press kit of what I did and at that point I hadn’t done any costumes for movies just for performers. Ad I believe he liked my style and he called me in and took me on for this project.

It was very tough for me because I usually when I work on a project I get half up front and then I get paid. Or when I work with stores, they pay either before or in parts or a few weeks after, so it’s kind of tough for me on this project. My material costs got taken care of, but the pay was deferred. For pieces that I used that had already been made, there was no problem I just used those. And those are mainly on the females, I don’t think I had anything of my own design on the men, we just shopped around and used different things for them.

I’m actually wondering [whether I’ll work on another film]. I enjoyed it very much so if there’s another project that I liked I’ll do it because I really liked this one because the theme was very nice, nice love story, kind of complicated, but the fact that Latinos were portrayed in a much nicer picture was important to me.

What I really enjoyed about the film was working with so many people from other countries, and not just Latinos. We had African-Americans in our film and Latinos but in the crew we had an English woman, we had a Greek from Greece, we had people from Peru, Mexico, it was pretty much an international crew. I liked that a lot because I come from an international education going to United Nations school in New York so I’m used to that and when ever I have that around, I really appreciate it. I didn’t know there were going to be so many people from all over, but when I saw that I was like, oh wow, the UN, the United Nations here in our little film. It was great, well it was not a little film. That was another thing that I liked a lot.



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